New sightings of ivory-billed woodpecker in Florida

Bird researchers have spotted ivory-billed woodpeckers 14 times in the past 18 months in a remote area of the Florida panhandle — on some occasions, two at the same time — according to a report in the Canadian online journal Avian Conservation and Ecology. The team of scientists also made some 300 sound recordings of the woodpeckers, found a number of tree-nesting cavities that might have been used by them, and identified dozens of the birds’ unique chisel marks on tree bark. They did not, however, manage to photograph an ivory-bill, so the researchers acknowledge that their evidence is not conclusive. The ivory-billed woodpecker was thought to be extinct until last year when ornithologists announced sightings in Arkansas; since then, controversy has roiled over whether ivory-bills are really still around. Now, birders may start flocking to Florida to help confirm the new sightings. In less inspiring woodpecker news, residents of Boiling Spring Lakes, N.C., have been rapidly chopping down stands of longleaf pines to keep the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker from moving in, hoping to prevent the feds from designating their neighborhoods as protected woodpecker habitat.